This is our last week of the transfer... I can hardly believe that!
Our week went by so quickly. It was such a busy and productive week. On Saturday we had a blitz in our area with the elders in our district and our ward missionaries. I hadn't had a mini blitz like that before, and it went so well! I was reminded of the huge ward rescue we had in Crossman Peak back in August. Sister Cook and I made lists of potential investigators, less-actives, and former investigators for the missionaries and members to visit, and they all went out for 2 hours and contacted as many people as they could. I regularly think of and pray over how we, as the missionaries, can help our ward change their perspective and excite their enthusiasm about missionary work, and this was a perfect, though small-scale, answer to my prayers. Sister Cook and I brought out one of our ward missionaries, Sister Bess. She's this sweet little Filipino sister, about 60, whose lived in this ward for a few years. She and her husband, Brother Bess, got married less than 10 years ago, and are so strong and faithful in their testimonies... I have been inspired by their commitment and conversion to the Gospel. I enjoy being around Sister Bess - she's just a refreshing presence, and it always gives me a laugh trying to understand what she says through her thick Filipino accent. She's been out with us before to lessons, but never to just contact people. We made a few unsuccessful stops, then finally stopped at a member's home who we'd never met before. She readily invited us in and welcomed us into her living room. We shared a brief thought and prayer, and then were on our way, and as we walked out, she said: "Thank you so much for stopping by this morning. It's like 3 little angels just showed up on my doorstep!" As we climbed back into the car and headed back to the church, we thanks Sister Bess for coming out with us. "Oh no, thank YOU," she said. "This has given me so much perspective." I heard a tremor in her voice and realized that she'd begun to cry. "These people... they just don't understand how much work you two do for them and for the Lord. They just don't know. I am so grateful that I came out with you. I now understand what you do so much more." I was so touched by her words. Sometimes I get so caught in the routine of the work, that I lose perspective on just what a tough job we have out here. Sister Bess' simple and sincere appreciation for what we're doing gave me such a boost. That is exactly what we want; we want the members to really see how they can be personally and intimately involved in our work! We want them to see how rewarding it is.
It was also a melancholy week - there were so many deaths, it seemed. On Thursday Sister Cook and I attended a funeral for a young man in our ward who passed away in his sleep this week. He was only 25, and there really weren't any signs as to why he passed. It was completely out of the blue, and obviously devastating for his family. Going to his funeral service woke me up to the reality of death. I thought of what a natural step it is in our eternal progression. Because I have been fortunate enough to not have much personal experience with it, I think its become a far-away, distant thing in my mind. I was awoken this week to how quickly it can occur, how abruptly it can happen. I can imagine how crippling it could be if I didn't know about God's plan for us, and even more so if I did know and wasn't living my life in accordance with His will. I think of how important it is to be prepared today and everyday. I was reminded of Jorg Kleingat's talk from conference - "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." Are we living in such a way right now that we'd be completely confident standing in front of our Heavenly Father if we were to pass today?
We also received word that our former mission president's wife - Rosie Neider - passed away from cancer this week. The night we got the news, I wrote this in my journal:
"Tonight we received word that President Neider's wife - Rosie - passed away this morning from cancer. It'd been a long, hard battle, I hear. I think of when I initially got to the mission and Sister Arnold spoke the WORLD of Sister Neider. 'She was the spiritual leader I needed,' Sister Arnold once told me. On another occasion, she said in district meeting that if she were to choose her dream companion, it would be Sister Neider. I'm sorrowed that I never had the opportunity to meet her. Her legend and impact in life and this mission is unmatched. I feel that without ever having personally known her." I am grateful for the influence she left here, and especially on Sister Arnold. Her strength and power will influence generations.
Sorry this is letter is short, but I'm out of time!
I love you all!